I bumped into Robyn Celia, the co-owner of Pappy and Harriet’s, in the coffee aisle at the grocery store—and she reminded me to make sure I got to The Breeders show early to catch The Regrettes, the opening band.
I take Celia’s recommendations seriously, since she and Linda Krantz have created one of the best music venues in America.
Lydia Night, the lead singer of The Regrettes, greeted the early crowd: “Hi, Pappy’s! How are you doing? Get closer; we are not going to bite.”
“Come Through” was a blast as Lydia danced and strutted on the stage like a veteran. The Regrettes sang about teenage insecurities in “A Living Human Girl”: “I’ve got pimples on my face and grease in my hair, and prickly legs; go ahead and stare.” Night was full of confidence and talent beyond her years. The Regrettes just became one of my new favorite bands.
The Breeders kicked off their only announced California stop on their U.S. tour in support of their first new record in 10 years, All Nerve, featuring the lineup from 25 years ago: Kim Deal and her twin Kelley Deal, with Jim MacPherson and Josephine Wiggs.
The band walked onstage, and Kim Deal announced: “We are The Breeders, and it looks like we landed on a different planet. Are you ready?”
I must admit that I have a little crush on Kim Deal, who, in my humble opinion, has the best vocals on the most popular Pixies songs. But as a fan boy, I only had one wish—to hear a rendition of a song played in Lollapalooza in 1994. The cynic in me doubted that I would hear this song, since they’d likely be pushing the new material; this is show business, after all. But as I heard, “I like all the different people, I like sticky everywhere, look around, you bet I’ll be there!” I could not stop smiling: The band actually started the set with that song, “Saints.”
The perfect rendition of the song made it apparent that the extensive sound-check earlier in the day paid off, as Kim Deal’s voice was spot-on.
At that point, I thought the Breeders wouldn’t top that. But the band did.
After “Divine Hammer,” a song that illustrated the sweetness of Kim Deal’s voice, she told the crowd the band was going to play some new songs, and introduced “All Nerve,” a slow-tempo song with remarkable reverb, which invoked tenderness: “I hit the hull. Oh God, I hit them all. You don’t know how far I’d go.”
With a chrome whistle in Kim Deal’s hand, the crowd went crazy as the band played “Cannonball.” Feeding off the audience, the Breeders appeared to be having a blast.
As Kim Deal introduced one of my favorite songs off the new album, “Skinhead No. 2”—co-written by Wiggs—she did not holding back with the opening verse: “I need spit to crush these beetles on my lips.”
The song “Dawn,” also off the new record, was pure ecstasy. The gangly song “Nervous Mary” received great fan reaction. A video of the song filmed in the Netherlands, released earlier in the year, stars Kim and Kelley Deal as adorable puppets.
Changing things up, Kim said, “My mom says Kelley needs to sing a song,” and introduced Kelley on lead vocals for “I Just Wanna Get Along.”
Kim Deal said: “Thank you very much for coming out. Good luck getting home. There is no cell service at Pappy and Harriet’s.” The band then closed with a cover of “Gigantic,” by the Pixies. It was bittersweet but lovely, seeing as Kim stood on the same spot as the Pixies did during a surprise April 2014 show, sans Kim.
Coming back for a short encore, the Breeders ended with “Huffer,” another classic from an incredible band.